Extruded Polystyrene foam insulation’s (XPS) numerous benefits make the product one of the most widely used and trusted in residential and commercial construction throughout the world. Architects, builders, and building occupants can feel confident that all XPS insulation products are safe and have been approved for use by regulatory bodies worldwide.
Why are there flame retardants in XPS foam insulation?
XPS foam insulation includes flame retardants to protect life and property as well as to meet building and fire safety codes and standards. Flame retardants have proven time and time again to slow the spread of fire, which can add precious extra time to enable building occupants to escape. The building codes related to the fire-safety performance of foam insulation products are based on years of careful analysis, extensive testing, and a deliberative, international, code-development process.
While the number of residential fires and civilian fire deaths has continued to decline since the 1970’s, XPS manufacturers continue to formulate their products with flame retardants because the risk of death and damage from fires has not been eliminated.
What flame retardants are used in XPS foam insulation and how safe are they?
The flame retardant most commonly used in XPS foam insulation products currently on the market is called HBCD. HBCD has been used safely for decades to help protect people and property from fire and there are no restrictions on its use across the country. To reaffirm the safety of HBCD, numerous government agencies across the globe have completed thorough risk assessments that analyzed all sources of HBCD, including house dust, and concluded that HBCD poses a low exposure rate and negligible risk to building occupants. Similarly, there is no credible evidence that foam insulation products are a significant source of indoor HBCD exposure.
The Extruded Polystyrene Foam Association (XPSA) is a trade association representing manufacturers of Extruded Polystyrene Foam (XPS) insulation products and the industry's raw material suppliers. XPSA members collectively manufacture more than 95% of all XPS destined for use in the North American market. XPSA promotes the benefits that accrue to society from appropriate use of XPS foam insulation applications.
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